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Understanding Menopause: A Beginner's Guide

Understanding Menopause: A Beginner's Guide

Menopause marks the end of menstrual cycles, diagnosed after 12 consecutive months without a period. It commonly occurs in a woman's 40s or 50s and is a natural biological process. However, its emotional and physical symptoms, like hot flashes, can impact emotional well-being, disrupt sleep, and reduce energy levels. Hormone therapy and lifestyle adjustments are among the effective treatments available to manage these symptoms.

Investigators evaluated the Work Ability Score which is used to assess perceived work ability in menopause patients, and it revealed poorer work ability and participation.

“These findings reinforce the importance of addressing bothersome menopause symptoms to optimize a woman’s quality of life, both personally and professionally,” said Stephanie Faubion, MD, MBA, medical director for The Menopause Society.

 

Definition of menopause.

 

Symptoms of Menopause

  1. Irregular periods: Menstrual cycles may become irregular before stopping altogether.
  2. Hot flashes: Sudden feelings of warmth, often accompanied by sweating and flushing of face and neck. Hot flashes can range from mild to severe.
  3. Night sweats: Episodes of intense sweating during sleep, which can disrupt sleep patterns.
  4. Vaginal dryness: Decreased moisture and elasticity in the vaginal area, leading to discomfort, itching, or pain during intercourse.
  5. Sleep disturbances: Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, often due to night sweats or other menopause-related symptoms.


    Symptoms of Menopause


  6. Mood changes: Fluctuations in mood, including irritability, anxiety, or feelings of sadness. Some women may experience mood swings during menopause.
  7. Changes in libido: Some women may experience a decrease in sex drive or changes in sexual desire.
  8. Weight gain: Changes in hormonal levels during menopause can contribute to weight gain, particularly around the abdomen.

 

Doctor advices for healthy lifestyle during menopause.

     

       9. Thinning hair and dry skin: Changes in hormone levels can affect the skin and hair, leading to dryness, thinning, or brittleness.

       10. Cognitive changes: Some women report difficulties with memory,        concentration, or mental clarity during menopause, although the research on this aspect is ongoing and not fully conclusive.

"Symptoms related to menopause are common, they are treatable, and you should not suffer in silence. While you might think of it as embarrassing, these are things your healthcare professional should be talking with you about.” - Sheryl Kingsberg, PhD

Causes of Menopause

  1. Reproductive hormones that naturally decline: Your ovaries begin producing less progesterone and oestrogen, the hormones that control menstruation, as you get closer to your late 30s, which causes a decrease in fertility. During your forties, you may experience variations in the length, weight, and frequency of your menstrual cycles. Eventually, your ovaries cease producing eggs, which usually occurs by the time you reach age 51.


  2. Oophorectomy: Surgery in which the ovaries are removed. The hormones that control the menstrual cycle, such as progesterone and oestrogen, are produced by your ovaries. Menopause begins right away if your ovaries are removed during surgery. In addition to experiencing hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, your periods stop. Hormonal changes happen suddenly rather than gradually over several years, which can cause severe signs and symptoms. A hysterectomy, which involves removing your uterus but leaving your ovaries intact, typically delays the onset of menopause. Your ovaries continue to release eggs and produce progesterone and oestrogen even though you are no longer menstruating.

    A cartoon of girl explaining menopause.
  3. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy: Hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms may be brought on by these cancer treatments during or soon after the course of treatment. Birth control methods may still be desired because the cessation of menstruation (and fertility) following chemotherapy is not always permanent. Only when radiation is targeted at the ovaries does radiation therapy have an impact on ovarian function. Menopause will not be impacted by radiation therapy administered to other body parts, such as breast tissue or the head and neck.


  4. Primary insufficiency of the ovaries:  Premature menopause, or the menopause before age 40, affects about 1% of women. Primary ovarian insufficiency, which can be caused by autoimmune diseases or genetic factors, is the inability of your ovaries to produce normal levels of reproductive hormones, which can cause premature menopause. However, there is frequently no known cause of premature menopause. Hormone therapy is generally advised for these women until they reach the menopause naturally in order to safeguard their heart, brain, and bones.

When does menopause occur?

Menopause can occur at any age, although it typically occurs at 51. This includes the mid-50s and later. The global population of postmenopausal women is growing. In 2021, women aged 50 and over accounted for 26% of all women and girls globally. This was up from 22% 10 years earlier. Women who smoke and are underweight go through menopause earlier than women who are overweight. A woman typically experiences menopause around the same age as her mother.

Levels of estrogen during Menopause

 

Menopause does not indicate the end of a woman's general health or well-being; rather, it is a normal and inevitable aspect of a woman's life that signifies the end of her fertility. Depending on a person's needs and preferences, a variety of lifestyle modifications, medical interventions, and hormonal therapies can help with menopause symptom management and adjustment. Although there are treatments and things women can do to ease the symptoms of menopause, one 2021 survey of more than 1,000 women found that 73 percent of respondents who were experience menopause symptoms were not treating them. The survey also found that half of the women said they experienced painful sex after the onset of menopause symptoms.

Our expert Anne Beal, beautifully explained about menopause in her quote.

Discover to know more: https://www.quora.com/What-does-it-feel-like-to-go-through-menopause/answer/Anne-Beal-1?ch=10&oid=142408532&share=fea44734&srid=toeTW&target_type=answer .

 

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